The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, resulting in costs of $300 billion in lost income and medical expenses every year. More than half of the adults living with arthritis are working age, limiting the type of work they can complete or preventing them from working altogether. To help reduce this resounding impact, Social Security disability benefits are available to provide financial support to those living with arthritis.
At Schaffer & Associates LPA, we help Ohio adults obtain benefits for disability for arthritis. Through our focused efforts and skilled legal representation, we are able to secure benefits and avoid the common issues that individuals face during the application process. Our team of experienced attorneys have spent years providing legal counsel for adults living with disabilities. For more information regarding how we can help, consider scheduling a free consultation with a Schaffer & Associates LPA disability lawyer today at (419) 350-8277.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis?
While arthritis is an umbrella term that is used to refer to over a hundred different conditions, all forms of arthritis lead to swelling and pain in the joints. Often, it leads to a reduced range of motion in one or more parts of the body. By far, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, often occurring in the hands, shoulders, spine, hips, and knees. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and gout are also common. Other types of arthritis can impact the heart, lungs, kidney, and skin as well, but these are much less common.
While different types of arthritis manifest uniquely, some of the more general signs and symptoms of arthritis include:
- Joint pain and tenderness
- Reduced range of motion
- Lumps of bone forming around the joint
In addition to these common symptoms, there are “constitutional symptoms” that impact different areas of the body. These include:
- Weight loss and/or loss of appetite
- Generalized weakness
Typically, the symptoms of arthritis develop over a long period of time. While age is a major contributing factor to developing arthritis, it is possible for children, teenagers, and young adults to develop arthritis as well.
Are Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis Considered Disabilities?
The effects of arthritis may leave a person unable to complete normal work-related activities. If an arthritic condition impacts your overall function and mobility such that it is impossible to perform work activities, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Broadly, the Social Security Administration is more likely to approve an application for disability benefits when a person’s condition is severe and debilitating. This is true of arthritis as well.
Section 14.09 of the Blue Book describes the criteria that will be used to evaluate inflammatory arthritis cases. To obtain disability for arthritis, a person must have medical documentation proving any of the following:
- Persistent inflammation or deformation of one or more major peripheral joints in either the upper or lower extremities, as well as recorded need of an assistive medical tool such as a walker or hand-held assistive device. If a person has lost the ability to use one or more major peripheral joints in both upper extremities, such that they can no longer independently initiate and perform work activities, a documented medical need for an assistive device is not necessary.
- Inflammation or deformation of one or more major peripheral joints as well as involvement of organ/body systems OR two constitutional signs and symptoms (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, weight loss).
- Continuous inflammation or deformation of joints along with spinal issues such as ankylosing spondylitis or other spondyloarthropathies.
- Repeated manifestations of inflammatory arthritis along with two constitution signs and symptoms AND a limitation in the ability to work, maintain social functioning, or complete tasks efficiently.
If it can be medically established that a person’s arthritis is severe enough that they cannot work, disability benefits may be granted. If arthritis is persistent, unmanageable, debilitating, and/or continues for over a year, the chances of receiving disability for arthritis increase.
How Can We Help Secure Disability Benefits for Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis?
At Schaffer & Associates LPA, our team of experienced attorneys have spent years working to obtain disability benefits for individuals suffering with arthritis. We understand how medical eligibility is evaluated by the Ohio Division of Disability Determination and how approval is granted by the Social Security Administration. Unfortunately, the majority of Social Security disability applications are denied at the state level. This is especially true in Ohio, where only a third of applications are approved.
Through our representation and guidance, we work to increase the chances of success for disability applications. We accomplish this via our range of services, which include:
- Completing and filing Social Security disability applications
- Appealing denied applications
- Navigating eligibility requirements for Social Security disability for arthritis
- Compiling all necessary documentation and medical records
We tailor our services to fit the needs of our clients, rejecting the notion of a one-size-fits-all legal representation. Over the years, we have successfully secured financial support for individuals who are unable to work due to their arthritis.
Contact an Experienced Attorney at Schaffer & Associates LPA Today
Securing Social Security benefits for disability for arthritis is rarely simple or straightforward. In most cases, applications are denied once or twice before a person can successfully obtain benefits. If you or a loved one suffers from arthritis and cannot work, you may be entitled to financial support. To start the process of securing benefits, consider contacting our Toledo office at (419) 350-8277 today.